NASA joined Florida Power & Light Company on April 8 to commission FPL's Space Coast Next Generation Solar Energy Center. The new solar photovoltaic (PV) power facility is the result of a public-private partnership between NASA and FPL
FPL's Space Coast Next Generation Solar Energy Center is located on NASA property at Kennedy Space Center and is producing an estimated 10 megawatts of clean, emissions-free power, which is enough energy to serve approximately 1,100 homes.
"NASA is a pioneer in the use of solar power for space exploration, so it's fitting that we're working with FPL to expand the use and R&D of that renewable energy source at Kennedy Space Center where many of those missions were launched," said Robert Cabana, director of the Kennedy Space Center. "This type of commercial partnership with NASA helps provide Florida residents, and America's space program, with new sources of'green power' that reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and improve the environment."
FPLs Space Coast Next Generation Solar Energy Center is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 227,000 tons over the life of the project, which according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is equivalent to removing 1,800 cars from the road each year. It will also save approximately 122,000 barrels of oil and 2.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas over its lifetime.
The facility features approximately 35,000 solar PV panels from SunPower Corp., a manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar systems, across 60 acres at Kennedy Space Center.
FPL's Space Coast Next Generation Solar Energy Center is the second large-scale solar facility that FPL has completed in Florida. The first, FPL's DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, the country's largest solar PV facility at 25 megawatts, was commissioned in October 2009 by President Barack Obama.
Later this year, FPL plans to open the world's first hybrid solar thermal facility to connect to an existing fossil fuel plant, FP's Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center in Indiantown, Fla. It will be the largest of FPLs solar facilities at 75 megawatts. In total, FPL's three solar projects combined are creating more than 1,500 direct jobs and more than 5,000 total jobs for the state during the construction period.